Everyone’s favorite topic… Circumcision. Often debated, always painful. Joshua 5 talks about the Israelite men being circumcised after crossing the Jordan. Here’s it’s talking about a physical AND a spiritual circumcision, but there are several applications we can make to modern day circumcision ~ spiritual circumcision… (I for one, have not been physically circumcised… duh :)). The purpose for circumcision was sanctification, cleanliness, preparation for service to the Lord. Abraham “received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while still uncircumcised” (Rom. 4:11) It was still based on faith.
Circumcision is still about faith today. In the New Testament, Romans 2:29 tells us that now, “circumcision is of the heart, by the Spirit.” Because of that, Paul could safely say this about physical circumcision, “Circumcision does not matter and uncircumcision does not matter, but keeping God’s commandments does” (1 Cor. 7:19). Spiritual circumcision matters.
All that being said, here are some things I learned from Joshua 5 about circumcision:
Circumcision Hurts: A season of purifying and pruning is always at least a little painful. It may require sacrifice, change (most of us balk at change), a new way of thinking or being or doing.
Circumcision Requires Time To Heal: When God rocks your world, (if you’re anything like me) you need to take the time to process. The Israelites “stayed where they were in the camp until they recovered” Vs. 8. I’d say that’s a pretty good idea. Don’t act impulsively. Hear from God, process (count the cost) – take the time you need.
Circumcision Rolls Away Disgrace: Circumcision of the heart is a process of becoming new. It leaves the baggage behind. “The LORD then said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the disgrace of Egypt from you” Vs. 9. It’s a new beginning. A fresh slate. Yeah, that’s pretty cool!
Jesus Shows Up After Circumcision: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus shows up to Joshua after obediently circumcising the Israelite brotherhood. I don’t know if Joshua knew Who he was talking with, but he definitely knew He was someone important by what his response (bowed and obeyed). After we empty ourselves of ourselves and experience a circumcision of the heart by faith… Jesus shows up. And to that I say, Hallelujah!